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The Complete Software Project Manager by Anna P. Murray

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Chapter 2Agile, Waterfall, and the Key to Modern Project Management

Agile and Waterfall

Many professionals, especially those with little or no technology background, enter into projects in an unconscious way. They may not have heard the terms “Agile” or “Waterfall.” And they might not know which of these methods their tech teams practice. Agile vs. Waterfall is certainly the most commonly heard debate in terms of approaching a software project.

People involved in software development have almost certainly heard the terms Agile and Waterfall. They will be familiar with the ongoing debate about these two forms of project approaches. Understanding these two ways of approaching projects—when and where one method has an advantage over another, and what version in what balance is right for your organization—is foundational to good software project management.

First, here are some definitions.

Waterfall

You could replace the term “waterfall” with the term “traditional.” The Waterfall project approach is generally regarded as a more traditional way to manage software development.

The Waterfall process has been around for decades. It is a sequential way of developing software:

  • Gather software requirements
  • Design the technical solution
  • Code the software
  • Test and debug the software
  • Deliver the finished product
  • Enter maintenance mode

Sounds logical, right?

The name Waterfall came from the boxes and arrows used to illustrate these steps. The arrows make it seem like water is flowing ...

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